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The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (The VB-MAPP). Mark L. Sundberg, William A. Galbraith, & Mike Miklos . A Brief History of a Verbal Behavior Assessment. B. F. Skinner and Fred Keller Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior (1957) Happy 50th Anniversary!.

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The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (The VB-MAPP)

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The verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp

The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (The VB-MAPP)

Mark L. Sundberg,

William A. Galbraith,

&

Mike Miklos


A brief history of a verbal behavior assessment

A Brief History of a Verbal Behavior Assessment

  • B. F. Skinner and Fred Keller

  • Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior (1957)

  • Happy 50th Anniversary!


The verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program

1978

1993

1983


The verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program

Jack Michael

Teacher of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior (starting in 1955)


A brief history of a verbal behavior assessment1

A Brief History of a Verbal Behavior Assessment

  • Joseph Spradlin, first systematic application of verbal behavior to language assessment and intervention for the developmentally disabled

  • “The Parsons Language Sample” (Spradlin, 1963) used Skinner’s elementary verbal operants (i.e., echoic, mand, tact, intraverbal) as a framework for language assessment


A brief history of a verbal behavior assessment2

A Brief History of a Verbal Behavior Assessment

  • During the 1960s and 1970s there were 100s of people who contributed to the development of Applied Behavior Analysis and language assessment and intervention for the developmentally disabled (e.g., Baer, Bailey, Bijou, Englemann, Guess, Hart, Kent, Lovaas, Lutzker, Risley, Sailor, Sherman, Wolf)


The verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program

Sidney W. Bijou


The verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program

Don Baer, Mont Wolf, & Todd Risley


The verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program

O. Ivar Lovaas


A brief history of a verbal behavior assessment3

A Brief History of a Verbal Behavior Assessment

  • There were also a number of behavior analysts focusing on Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior (e.g., Catania, Cook, Day, Ferster, Holland, Knapp, MacCorquodale, Michael, Moore, Pear, Salzinger, Sloane, Spradlin, Vargas, Wood)


A brief history of a verbal behavior assessment4

A Brief History of a Verbal Behavior Assessment

  • In the mid to late 1970s approximately 50 VB research projects were conducted at the Kalamazoo Valley Multihandicap Center (KVMC). Most of these projects were presented at the annual MABA, ABA, & APA conventions

  • This thematic line of VB research was heavily influenced by the developments in ABA and VB, and the guidance of Jack Michael

  • Jerry Shook was the Director of KVMC, and Mark Sundberg was the KVMC Research Coordinator

  • Jack Michael was our research advisor

  • Most of the projects were Masters Theses and Doctoral Dissertations by students from the psychology department of Western Michigan University, who had taken Jack Michael’s verbal behavior class and worked at KVMC


The purpose of a language assessment

The Purpose of a Language Assessment

  • Determine the operant level of a child’s verbal (and related) skills

  • Compare to the language development of typical children

  • Identify language acquisition and learning “barriers”

  • If and where to begin intervention (placement)

  • Establish IEP goals

  • Design an individualized curriculum/intervention program

  • Teaching strategies (e.g., AC, DTT-NET, inclusion, in-home)

  • Is the intervention program working? Why or why not?

  • A tool to demonstrate learning, track progress, make changes, provide outcome measures


Traditional language assessment

Traditional Language Assessment

  • Cognitive and/or biological variables seen as the primary sources of control for verbal responses

  • Based on the expressive-receptive distinction, mediated by cognitive processors

  • Norm referenced and standardized assessments

  • Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test

  • Expressive One-word Vocabulary Test

  • Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence

  • Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals


Behavioral language assessment

Behavioral Language Assessment

  • The verbal operant is the functional unit (form and function)

  • Environmental variables are viewed as the relevant sources of control for verbal responses, rather than cognitive or biological variables

  • Each verbal operant involves separate sources of control (independent variables), thus each must be assessed

  • Most verbal responses are under multiple sources of control

  • More complex verbal behavior is comprised of various combinations of the verbal operants

  • Speaker and listener as separate repertoires

  • Criterion-referenced assessment


Problems with the ablls partington sundberg 1998

Problems with the ABLLS(Partington & Sundberg, 1998)

  • A significant improvement over Sundberg, et al, 1979; Sundberg, 1983, 1987, 1990

  • Too many skills to assess (476)

  • Just a listing of skills with examples, and a scoring criteria

  • The ABLLS was not designed to serve as a stand alone product, but it has become that for a significant number of users

  • Originally, the ABLLS was designed to accompany the Teaching Language to Children with Autism book

  • No content on what constitutes mands, tacts, intraverbals, etc.

  • No content/text on how to conduct a verbal behavior analysis

  • Not enough information in the individual cells to explain the skill being assessed and the relevant sources of control (e.g., noun-verb tacting, mands for information, multiply controlled intraverbal behavior)


Problems with the ablls partington sundberg 19981

Problems with the ABLLS(Partington & Sundberg, 1998)

  • The information that is in the cells is frequently redundant across cells (e.g., The task name, objective, and question is often the same)

  • Much of it is out of developmental sequence (as I see it now)

  • Core sequence of verbal skills is 24 years old (Sundberg, 1983)

  • Skills not developmentally balanced out on the grids

  • No placement system (e.g., when to start IV)

  • No verbal behavior analysis of language and learning barriers (a major component of assessment)

  • Steps in the cells were too small for IEP goals


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP

  • Based on Skinner’s (1957) analysis of verbal behavior

  • Based on typical language development milestones

  • By identifying milestones, as opposed to a task analysis of individual skills, the focus can be sharper, and the direction clearer

  • Field test data from approximately 75 typically developing children

  • Field test data from over 150 children with autism

  • The body of empirical research that provides the foundation of Behavior Analysis

  • Empirical research on Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp1

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program:The VB-MAPP

  • There are four components of the VB-MAPP

  • The VB-MAPP: Skills Assessment contains 165 verbal behavior milestones across 3 developmental levels (0-18 mos., 18-30 mos., 30-48 mos.), and 16 different verbal operants and related skills

  • The VB-MAPP: Skills Task Analysis provides a further breakdown of the 16 different skill areas in the form of a checklist for skills tracking

  • The VB MAPP: Barriers Assessment examines 22 common learning and language barriers faced by children with autism

  • The VB-MAPP: IEP Goals provides over 200 IEP objectives directly linked to the skills and barriers assessments, and verbal behavior intervention program (Sundberg, in preparation)


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp skills assessment

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessmentand Placement Program: The VB-MAPP Skills Assessment

  • The assessment is designed to identify the child’s existing language and related skills

  • An assessment should probe a representative sample of a repertoire

  • Typical verbal milestones can provide the frame for the sample

  • Typical verbal milestones can help to avoid focusing on only minor steps

  • Typical verbal milestones can help to avoid targeting skills for intervention that are developmentally inappropriate

  • IEP goals can match the milestones, not individual skills


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp skills assessment1

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessmentand Placement Program: The VB-MAPP Skills Assessment

  • The 16 skills assessed on the VB-MAPP include:

  • The elementary verbal operants (e.g., echoic, imitation, mand, tact, intraverbal)

  • The listener skills

  • Vocal output

  • Play and social skills

  • Visual perceptual skills, and matching-to-sample

  • Grammatical and syntactical skills

  • Group and classroom skills

  • Beginning academic skills


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp skills assessment2

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessmentand Placement Program: The VB-MAPP Skills Assessment

  • The milestones are broken into three developmental levels

  • Level 1: 0-18 months

  • Level 2: 18-30 months

  • Level 3: 30-48 months

  • The scores for each skill are approximately balanced across each level

  • There are 5 items and 5 possible points for each skill area


Vb mapp level 1 tact

VB-MAPP Level 1: Tact


Vb mapps for typically developing children

VB-MAPPS for Typically Developing Children

Lisa Hale

Mark L. Sundberg

Rikki Roden

Carl T. Sundberg

Cindy A. Sundberg


Vb mapps for children with autism

VB-MAPPs for Children with Autism

Mark L. Sundberg

Carl T. Sundberg

Shannon Niedig

Shannon Montano

Kaisa Weathers


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program skills task analysis

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: Skills Task Analysis

  • The milestones can be consider floors in a building, and the task analysis contains the steps between each floor

  • There are 165 milestones and approximately 600 total tasks in the VB-MAPP task analysis

  • The task analysis form also allows for more detailed skills tracking


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp barriers assessment

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

  • It is important to find out what a child can do (The VB-MAPP Skills Assessment), but also important to know what they can’t do, and analyze why they can’t do it

  • The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment is a tool that is designed to identify and score 22 different learning and language acquisition barriers

  • Once a specific barrier has been identified, a more detailed descriptive and/or functional analysis of that problem is required

  • There are many ways that a verbal repertoire or related skill can become defective, and an individualized analysis will be necessary to determine what the nature of the problem is for a specific child, and what intervention program might be appropriate


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp barriers assessment1

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

  • Common Learning and Language Acquisition Barriers

  • Instructional control (Escape/avoidance)

  • Behavior problems

  • Defective mand

  • Defective tact

  • Defective motor imitation

  • Defective echoic (e.g., echolalia)

  • Defective matching-to-sample


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp barriers assessment2

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

  • Common Learning and Language Acquisition Barriers

  • Defective listener repertoires (e.g., LD, LRFFC)

  • Defective intraverbal

  • Defective play and social skills

  • Prompt dependent, long latencies

  • Scrolling responses

  • Defective scanning skills

  • Failure to make conditional discriminations (CDs)

  • Failure to generalize


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp barriers assessment3

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

  • Common Learning and Language Acquisition Barriers

  • Weak or atypical MOs

  • Response requirements weakens the MO

  • Self-stimulation

  • Articulation problems

  • Obsessive-compulsive behavior

  • Reinforcement dependent

  • Does not attend to people/materials


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp barriers assessment4

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

  • Scoring the VB-MAPP Barriers Form

  • Rate the child on the VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Form using a Likert-type scale of 1 to 5

  • A score of 1 or 2 would indicate that there are no significant barriers, and a formal intervention plan may not be required.

  • A score of 3, 4, or 5 would indicate that there is a barrier, that probably should be addressed as part of the intervention program

  • For some children the immediate focus of the intervention program is on removing a particular barrier, rather than language instruction

  • The most common immediate barriers to remove involve instructional control problems, or other behavior problems


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp barriers assessment5

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

  • Defective Verbal Behavior

  • A descriptive functional analysis of verbal behavior (Skinner, Chap 1)

  • A behavioral analysis of words, phrases, and sentences emitted by children with autism

  • Same basic principles of behavior as nonverbal behavior

  • What is the source of control?

  • These sources of control will often reveal that what appears to be a correct response in form is actually incorrect in function

  • Might not be the same source of control observed in a typically developing child (e.g., I have a red shirt on)

  • Each verbal operant can be susceptible to unwanted sources of control


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp barriers assessment6

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

  • Defective Verbal Behavior

  • Defective mands (I want candy. What’s that?)

  • Defective tacts (Bounce ball, Black car, Under table)

  • Defective intraverbal responses (Poopies evoked by What do you smell in the oven?)

  • The behavior analyst must determine what the correct source of control should be, and how that source can be established

  • The functional analysis of verbal behavior is on-going

  • The failure to conduct such an analysis may result in rote or defective verbal repertoires that can become difficult to change

  • This is how behavior analysis is different, this is what we do


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp barriers assessment7

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

  • An Analysis of a Defective Mand Repertoire

  • A substantial number of children with autism have an absent, weak, or defective mand repertoire

  • Many of these same children have extensive tact and listener skills, as well as other elevated scores on the VB-MAPP Skills assessment

  • Often, under these circumstances it is not uncommon to see the child engage in a tantrum or some other form of negative behavior as a mand

  • A word acquired under SD control may not automatically transfer to MO control

  • This distinction between SD and MO antecedent control is not systematically incorporated into many of the popular language assessment and intervention programs designed for children with autism

  • There are many potential causes of a defective mand repertoire and a functional analysis is necessary to determine the cause for an individual child


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp barriers assessment8

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

  • Potential causes of an absent, weak, or defective mand repertoire

  • Mand training is not part of the child’s early language training history

  • The target response form is too difficult for the child

  • When a child has no or limited vocal behavior, sign language or PECS has not been tried

  • The response requirement is too high and weakens the relevant MO

  • There is no current MO in effect for targeted item (e.g., satiation, weak to begin with)

  • The response is prompt bound by physical, echoic, imitative, or verbal stimuli

  • A nonverbal stimulus acquires control of the response and blocks MO control

  • A verbal stimulus acquires control of the response and blocks MO control

  • Motivation (MO) does not control the response form


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp barriers assessment9

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

  • Potential causes of an absent, weak, or defective mand repertoire

  • The child has weak MOs in general

  • Free or cheap access to reinforcers without manding

  • Self-stimulation or obsessive behaviors compete with other MOs

  • A small group of mands has a strong history of reinforcement (e.g., candy, juice, skittles)

  • There is a limited availability of established imitative or echoic responses

  • No variation in captured or contrived MOs

  • Negative behavior functions as mands

  • Inappropriate mands become too strong and are intermittently reinforced

  • The curriculum is poorly sequenced

  • Fading out the object/nonverbal stimulus too soon


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program the vb mapp barriers assessment10

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

  • Potential causes of an absent, weak, or defective mand repertoire

  • A single response topography functions as the mand (e.g., more, please, that)

  • Can’t establish differential response topographies

  • Scrolling gets reinforced

  • Not enough mand trials are provided each day

  • Poor audience control

  • Mands only required and reinforced in specific setting

  • Generalization training is not provided

  • Verbal information does not function as reinforcement for the child

  • Manding does not come under the control of natural contingencies

  • A history of punishment for attempts at manding


Verbal behavior milestones assessment and placement program iep goals and placement

Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: IEP Goals and Placement

  • The results of the VB-MAPP Skills and Barriers Assessment provide guidance for the development for an intervention program

  • Specific IEP goals are provided for each milestone and barrier

  • The assessment corresponds with the verbal behavior intervention program (Sundberg & Partington, 1998; Sundberg, in preparation)


Thank you

Thank You!

For an electronic version of this presentation go to:

www.marksundberg.com


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